Do you ever have a look at herbs rising round your own home or in your native space and assume to your self, “I ought to actually be taught extra about that plant,” or “I’m wondering how that herb can be utilized?” I do it on a regular basis. 

There are such a lot of vegetation proper outdoors our entrance door that may be helpful to us, but when we don’t take the time to concentrate to them, study them, and use them, we’ll by no means know what we’re lacking.

This very factor occurred to me this yr with one plant specifically—one which isn’t used all that a lot nowadays besides by people herbalists. Some name her the queen of herbs, which is kind of becoming, seeing how she’s named after a queen. Others name her wild carrot on account of her edible, carrot-flavored root, and others generally discuss with her as hen’s nest as a result of, as her flowers age, they curl upward wanting like a cupped hen’s nest.

Any concepts about which herb I’m speaking about?

In the event you answered Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), you’re proper!

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s lace is kind of queen-like. 

She has a robust basis (simply strive pulling her root out with out first loosening the soil)! She has a versatile but sturdy stem (she doesn’t simply break when robust winds blow), and she or he is dainty and lady-like on the identical time (her delicate flowers say all of it).

She is usually discovered rising in poor high quality soil that’s dry, similar to roadsides, fields, and disturbed areas. 

Her small taproot has a light carrot taste and scent, and her branching stem is roofed in tiny hairs. Her leaves have a traditional fern-like look, and her flowers seem like delicate lace-like creamy circles that seem in an umbrella form when younger, flattening out as they mature, and ultimately forming a hen’s nest form as they age. 

Queen Anne's Lace leaves

Queen Anne’s lace is a biennial plant, which implies in its first yr of development, the foundation and a rosette of leaves develop. In its second yr of development, its stem will shoot up and produce flowers and seeds.

Queen Anne’s lace leaves are thought of poisonous as a result of presence of furocoumarins (Melough, Cho, & Chun, 2018). This phytochemical may cause allergic contact dermatitis in some people when touched, resulting in photosensitivity afterward. If in case you have delicate pores and skin, it’s smart to put on gloves when harvesting this plant.

Queen Anne’s lace can be generally used as meals. The foundation of first-year Queen Anne’s lace vegetation might be harvested and eaten as every other carrot would. They have to be gathered early within the season whereas they’re nonetheless tender. The longer they mature, the extra fibrous and woody they turn into. You can too harvest the mature flowers after they lie flat. Merely dip them in a flour batter and fry them as fritters, equally to dandelion fritters

Queen Annes Lace root

Figuring out Queen Anne’s Lace

Now, earlier than you exit on the lookout for Queen Anne’s lace, it’s crucial that you just first turn into acquainted with any look-a-like vegetation which have comparable traits to the queen. Nobody needs to by accident mistake the queen for another person, proper? That will be disastrous—life-threatening in some circumstances.

Queen Anne’s Lace Look-alike Vegetation

A number of vegetation might be simply mistaken for Queen Anne’s lace, similar to yarrow (Achillea millefolium), angelica (Angelica spp.), and a few of the wild parsley/parsnip vegetation, however the ones you need to have the ability to distinguish are the lethal look-alikes, similar to poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) and water hemlock (Cicuta spp.). 

Poison hemlock is in the identical plant household as Queen Anne’s lace, and it has comparable wanting leaves and flowers. Water hemlock, whereas additionally in the identical plant household as Queen Anne’s lace, has similar-looking flowers, however the leaves are a bit completely different. Although each poison hemlock and water hemlock develop a lot taller than Queen Anne’s lace, small or immature vegetation could make a wildcrafter hopeful. Yarrow is in a very completely different plant household (Asteraceae), however it nonetheless has feathery wanting leaves and white flowers which might be simply mistaken for Queen Anne’s lace. Take a look at a few of these vegetation side-by-side within the images under, and you’ll see why it might be simple for a newbie to mistake one for the opposite. 

Queen Anne's Lace, Hemlock, and Yarrow displayed side-by-side so the reader can see the similarities

Left: Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), Heart: water hemlock (Cicuta spp.), Proper: yarrow (Achillea millefolium).


In terms of accurately figuring out every of those vegetation, herbalist and foraging knowledgeable, Colleen Codakas (2018), has written a superb article concerning the numerous methods to identify every of those look-alike vegetation. She has even included hyperlinks to exterior websites that give extra element on the completely different vegetation she mentions as effectively. Study extra in her article, Poison Hemlock: How to Identify & Potential Look-alikes.

So now that you know the way necessary it’s to accurately determine this flower from different look-alike vegetation, let’s discuss just a few of the queen’s distinguishing traits that may make it easier to correctly determine her from different vegetation.

three Simple Methods to Establish Queen Anne’s Lace

In terms of identification, there are some enjoyable little tales you possibly can keep in mind that can assist you positively determine her within the wild.

First, do not forget that the queen has furry legs. Again within the day, women didn’t shave their legs, and neither did Queen Anne. This units her other than a few of her widespread look-alike herbs with white flowers, specifically the 2 lethal hemlocks (Conium maculatum and Cicuta spp.) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium) as these vegetation have hairless stems. Talking of her furry legs, the queen’s are usually strong inexperienced coloration, whereas the lethal hemlock’s typically have purple recognizing on them.

A comparison of the stems for Queen Anne's Lace, hemlock, and yarrow

Left: Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), Heart: water hemlock (Cicuta spp.), Proper: yarrow (Achillea millefolium).


Subsequent, don’t overlook that the queen pricked her finger whereas making lace and left a drop of blood within the heart. That is generally helpful as queen Anne’s lace typically has a black-purple coloured spot within the very heart of the creamy white lacy flowers. Whereas this isn’t true of all of her flowers, you possibly can see this attribute on a few of them.

Look very closely to see the tiny burgandy dot in the center of Queen Anne's Lace flowers

Lastly, the queen grew to become a hen watcher in her outdated age. As I discussed earlier than, older Queen Anne’s lace flowers have a tendency to curve up on themselves, forming a hen’s nest form. That is one other good figuring out attribute of this plant.

Queen Anne's Lace flowers take the shape of a bird's nest when they begin to seed.

In the event you’ve by no means recognized Queen Anne’s lace within the wild, it’s all the time a good suggestion to make use of a subject information, watch plant stroll movies, or take a seasoned forager together with you that can assist you correctly discover ways to spot her from different comparable wanting vegetation. As I stated earlier than, it may be lethal to mistake the queen! When you be taught to correctly determine her, although, the variations between her and her look-alikes will probably be as clear as day and night time to you, and also you’ll marvel the way you ever felt confused about these vegetation.

Now that you just’re extra acquainted with easy methods to determine this beautiful flower, let’s transfer on to some enjoyable people tales. As , folklore relating to vegetation are tales, tales, and sayings handed down from era to era. Most of those are unsubstantiated, however they’re enjoyable to find out about nonetheless.


Queen Anne’s lace is known as after Queen Anne of Denmark, spouse to King James I (who’s famously identified for commissioning the 1611 translation of the Bible for the church of England). It’s stated that a few of the queen’s associates challenged her to create lace as stunning as a flower, and whereas doing so, she pricked her finger and left a drop of blood within the heart of the lace (Phillips, 2012). 

The lacey flowers usually bloom from late Might to late August. It’s stated that Queen Anne typically traveled in Might, so when Queen Anne’s lace flowers started to appear all alongside the roadsides, the village individuals believed the roads had been embellished for her.

This beautiful flower is blooms throughout summer

One other attention-grabbing thought behind Queen Anne’s lace is the symbolism of the plant. The flowers are believed to characterize sanctuary. Maybe that is partially to the umbrella and hen’s nest shapes of the flowers, and it’s thought that if you happen to discover a forked root, you’re fortunate certainly!

Queen Anne’s lace seeds are historically harvested on the primary windy day nearest the total moon after the hen’s nest types. To do that, accumulate the flower heads and rub them gently between your palms whereas outside over a white plate. The darkish seeds will fall on the plate, and the wind will blow the chaff away (Rago, 2000).

Historical folklore additionally says that consuming the dark-colored center flower of Queen Anne’s lace might help cut back the prevalence of epileptic seizures, however there isn’t a identified science to again up this assumption. 

Lastly, this delicate flower is also referred to as mom die by some, and in response to superstition, if you happen to introduced it into your own home, your mom would die.

In Closing,

Now that we’ve explored some attention-grabbing folklore and discovered easy methods to determine this stunning wild plant, see our submit “Queen Anne’s Lace Part II: Traditional and Modern Uses” to find out how this plant has been used for wellness functions.

Queen Anne's Lace Pinterest graphic


Codakas, C. (2018). Poison hemlock: Tips on how to determine & potential look-alikes. [Online Article] Retrieved from

Melough, M.M., Cho, E., & Chun, O.Okay. (2018). Furocoumarins: A evaluate of biochemical actions, dietary sources and consumption, and potential well being dangers. Meals and Chemical Toxicology, 113, 99-107.

Phillips, S. (2012). An encyclopedia of vegetation in delusion, legend, magic & lore. London: Robert Hale Publishing.

Rago, L.O. (2000). Blackberry cove herbal. Sterling, Virginia: Capital Books, Inc.

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